I have been feeling a little sluggish with a sore throat and missing my veggie patch in Kwazulunatal while waiting in Cape Town for births, so thought I would post a pic of my patch here as an inspiration to all women who are pregnant and battling with pregnancy aches and pains. Minor complaints of pregnancy can largely be prevented through good nourishment and self care. Much of the food we eat, though, is depleted of essential micronutrients due to intensive farming methods. Soil that is farmed intensively with inorganic fertilizers and pesticides loses its ability to regenerate and provide us with nutrients that keep as healthy.
My veggie patch is biodynamic and organic (click here for details), and I feel better when I eat herbs, parsley or chives from the garden! Try one for yourself even if its a box in the verandah! Enough of gardens, lets move on to pregnancy(our own personal garden!). While regular exercise and nourishing food may prevent many of the minor complaints of pregnancy, the changes and complaints of pregnancy may sometimes become annoying and or uncomfortable.
I have found the following suggestions helpful, natural and safe to use during pregnancy, and with the guidance of your homeopath/naturopath, they may alleviate some discomfort:
Anxiety in Pregnancy
All pregnant mums may at some stage of the pregnancy feel anxious about their changing bodies, the growing baby in the womb, or experience major life changes, such as moving home or changing jobs.
• Passiflora is a remedy that is known to help for anxiety disorder and is safe to take during pregnancy.
Morning sickness, or early morning nausea, usually occurs for the first three months of pregnancy and then it passes. Eat small meals and food that is easily digestible and eliminate coffee, tea and sugary drinks from the diet, including liquifruit. Liquifruit and fruit juices have a high sugar content, are acidic and contribute towards symptoms of thrush.
• Ginger-root tea may alleviate nausea
• 100mg Vitamin B6 daily has often helped women who experience morning sickness.
Backache, Ligament or Symphisis Pubis Pain
Lower backpain is common during pregnancy and is also caused by the hormones progesterone and relaxin, which soften the muscle tissues in the body.
The weight of the baby during the last three months of pregnancy may put strain on the now softened joint ligaments of the hips and lower back as well as the pubic joint. Pubic joint pain may be severe and this is called symphysis diastasis.
• Homeopathic Rhus Toxicodendron 30X can be taken 3 to 4 times a day. This is a low homeopathic potency safe to use during pregnancy. Do consult your homeopath.
• Wear a pelvic support belt for pregnancy that supports the hip jonts and fits under the belly
Varicose veins are caused by the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. The hormone, progesterone relaxes smooth muscles and thus impairs venous return, especially from the legs. Standing will make this worse. Tight Elastic Stockings can be used, but may be very uncomfortable in our hot South African summers. It is important to take extra supplements to strengthen your body when you have varicose veins. The following are recommended over and above your supplementary vitamins:
• Daily fibre to prevent constipation
• A Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C 500mg with bioflavanoids daily
• Vit E 400mg and 100 mg Zinc daily
• 30 gram Alfalfa, which can be taken in capsule form or drunk fresh from Alfalfa Sprouts
• Calc Fluor 6x
• 200mg Rutin daily
Vulvar Varicose veins, which develop on the lips of the vulva, can be very uncomfortable. There may be engorgement and swelling around the area, although there is usually no problem giving birth. Sufficient rest times are essential. The first step is to put bricks under the lower end of the bed so that the feet are raised when you sleep. Wear a pair of cycling shorts or elastic Kotex panties during the day. Do not become constipated.
• Biovlavanoids and Vitamin E orally
• Hammamelis Ointment applied externally
Carrying a baby inside your body means your body has a lot more work to do and it is no wonder you may feel more tired than usual. One of the best ways to offset tiredness during pregnancy is to prepare yourself before conception and be very physically fit. With second and third pregnancies this may be more difficult as you have other children to care for. Try and rest during the day, even if it is a nap at lunchtime if you are working.
• A comprehensive ante-natal vitamin supplement
Daily exercise helps to ensure a good night’s sleep. Some women suffer from insomnia at night, especially during the last three months of the pregnancy, when the large stomach makes it difficult to lie comfortably. Getting comfortable with pillows supporting your legs and abdomen set the stage for sleep. There are some well-known remedies that may help you to fall asleep:
• Chamomile Tea before bedtime
• A warm bath with a few drops of Lavender, Grapefruit and Coriander essential oils
• A lavender oil massage is very soothing
• Valerian, a homeopathic remedy to induce sleep, works well
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Constipation during pregnancy is common and is due to the relaxing effect the hormones of pregnancy have on the bowel. Every mother needs to make sure she is eating a balanced diet with plenty of roughage, getting enough exercise and drinking plenty of fresh water each day. Eat high quality protein, and take extra rests when you are tired. It is healthiest to have at least one bowel movement a day, and if not, you need to get those bowels loosened up!
• Take extra Vitamin C with bioflavanoids
• Drink Nettle Tea
• Magnesium may help to loosen the bowels
• Metamucil granules daily
• A tablespoonful of Linseeds sprinkled on your morning cereal will do wonders
Straining when you are constipated will cause piles, which are really varicose veins around the anal opening. They can be very painful when you are passing a stool, so it is important to try and prevent constipation in the first instance.
• Homeopathic Hammamelis applied externally can help for piles
• Ice packs used before bedtime and after a bowel movement
• Pulsatilla and Sepia may help, but consult your homeopath
• Comfrey can be grown in the garden and made into a compress placed on the area. Comfrey is a miracle herb for skin problems.
• Frankincense aromatherapy oil in a carrier oil can be applied locally or in the bath.
Some women get stretch marks as the pregnancy progresses and this is related to the elasticity of the skin. Various creams and oils, such as Vitamin E cream, may keep the skin moist and elastic on the surface. A healthy diet and exercise will go a long way to preventing stretch marks. A remedy for stretch marks is :
• Calcarea Fluorica 6X twice a day
Sometimes women get rashes during pregnancy, which show on various parts of the body and can be very itchy. There is an official name for this – Pruritic Pustules of Pregnancy – and it is apparently due to hormonal changes. Obviously you will inform your obstetrician/midwife of this condition if you have it, as there may be some precautionary tests to be done. Often doctors prescribe steroids or antihistamines for this sort of rash, which may or may not help.
Here are some natural methods you can try as an alternative, which have worked for other women:
• Apis Mellifica, a homeopathic remedy has been effective, however consult your homeopath.
• Codliver or Flaxseed capsules, as the need for essential fatty acids increases during pregnancy.
• Calendula Cream on the skin.
• Dandelion Root in cider vinegar tincture taken orally. Dandelion root has a tonic effect on the liver.
• Milk Thistle capsules help to cleanse the liver and may prevent early symptoms of cholestasis, such as itching of the hands and feet
Good management of your health and your baby’s health during pregnancy will prevent further complications of pregnancy and birth. Regular antenatal checkups are absolutely necessary during your pregnancy. If there are any signs that the normal complaints of pregnancy are detrimental to you or your baby, you may need to be referred to a doctor for further treatment.
And eat those organic veggies…..a healthy pregnancy means a healthy baby and a good birth!